September 2, 2014

A weekly communication for:

WDC Churches and Pastors

WDC Executive Board, Commission, Committee and Task Force members

Any content may be used in bulletins and newsletters and forwarded to congregational leaders and members.

WDC Sprouts is also available at:  www.mennowdc.org (Publications)


*Clarence’s Clarion Call
*Prayer Requests
*Coming Events
*Parish Paper

Clarence’s Clarion Call – Endurance

     by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

 It seemed like a good idea. Why not climb one more 14er as a capstone to a wonderful
vacation week in Colorado? The sunrise on Mt. Massive was spectacular as Amanda and
I drove to the trailhead near Leadville, Colorado. If I was successful, this would be No.
16 of the 54 peaks in Colorado above 14,000 feet. That far exceeded my goal of climbing
ten 14ers in my lifetime.

I embarked from the North Half Moon Trailhead at 7:30 AM accompanied by the
friendly chatter of other adventurers. The trail would be short, only 3.4 miles, and steep
with an ascent of over 4000 feet. After a pleasing slope to tree line, the trail headed
up a 70 degree slope in big rocky steps and never ending switchbacks. It was hard! The
supply of oxygen was rapidly decreasing. Could I still do this?

With the encouragement of other hikers, I reached the peak of 14,421 feet at 12:30 PM
to a spectacular 30 mile 360 degree vista of Rocky Mountain peaks. Yes!

Going down would be brutal on my knees, so I turned off on the Main Massive Trail, a
much more gradual slope as far as I could see. After hiking for an hour, pleased with
choosing this easy going slope, a hiker caught up with me and in our casual conversation
just mentioned that this trail was 7.25 miles. What? Several hours later I was passed by
the last couple off the mountain who confirmed the length of the trail. I still had miles
and hours to go. And then my left thigh began cramping. That hadn’t happened before. I
stopped, drank more water, massaged the muscle, prayed, and it released.

Endurance is the word that popped into my mind. The theme of this hike is
ENDURANCE. One step at a time.

A lot of life is like that. We have little idea where we are or how long it might take till
we reach the trailhead and home. But we can see a bit of the trail, and we take the next
step, and the next, and the next.

Life and leadership in the Mennonite church seems something like that for me now.
I can’t see where the trail is going or how long it will be. Just take the next step. The
next step for Western District Conference is the current Discernment Task Force Survey
seeking responses from the members of WDC on matters of human sexuality, Biblical
authority, and church polity. Our Reference Council gathering on November 15, when
we hear a full report of the survey and respond in face-to-face conversation will be
another marker on the trail. How many miles to go? Oxygen is getting thin. Take the
next step.

I am praying Paul’s prayer for the church at Colosse for WDC and Mennonite Church
USA. “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the
wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of
the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the
knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so
that you may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:9-11).

When not sure which way to go at a trail juncture, I was helped by some seasoned
campers who got out their topographical map, gave me water, and blessed me with
trail mix and told me I had only three miles to go. Endurance! One step after the other!
Blisters were starting to bite. Trailhead! 6:00 PM.

Prayer Requests
September 7 – Pray for the Western District Executive Board and Moderator Richard
Gehring in their first meeting on Saturday, September 13. Pray for God’s
guidance as they lead WDC in a year of discernment.
September 14 – Pray for Kay Schroeder who will be ordained today as a pastor at First
Mennonite Church, Newton, KS.
September 21 – Pray for guidance for Gilberto Flores, Associate Conference Minister, as
he meets with a Hispanic group wanting to start a new church in Omaha, NE.
September 28 – Pray for Willmar Harder, who will be installed today as pastor of Buhler
Mennonite Church, Buhler, KS.

Coming Events

Oct 30 – Pastors’ Day Apart, Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, KS

Nov 15 – Reference Council, Eden Mennonite Church, Moundridge, KS

Jan 24, 2015 – Rural Ministry Seminar

Jan 31-Feb 1, 2015 – Know Jesus, Hesston College

April 26, 2015 – Children’s Choir Festival, Newton, KS

Fall, 2015 (Specific date to be determined) – WDC Annual Assembly

Parish Paper

The September issue of Parish Paper, entitled “Back to School:  How Churches Can Partner with Local Schools” can now be viewed at:  https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/.

WDC Announcements

1.  Pastors – three brand new books that are just for you!  1. A Shared Understanding of Church Leadership: Polity Manual for Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA / A Working Document – this just released manual is great for leadership discussions and more. 2. The Missional Quest: becoming a church of the long run by Lance Ford and Brad Brisco. Praxis, 2013.  Brad is our presenter at the Oct. 30 Pastor’s Day Apart.  3. Missional Essentials: A Guide for Experiencing God’s Mission in Your Life by Brad Brisco and Lance Ford, House Studio, 2012.  Call 316-283-6300 / email crlib@mennowdc.org to reserve these today!

2.  Pastors love Camp!  Come hear some of them perform after the Camp Mennoscah Annual meeting on September 20 at Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton, KS.  We promise there will be no sermons, just skits and music and perhaps a surprise or two!  We will start the evening with a light supper at 5 pm followed by a business meeting and elections.  We’d love to have you share in our decision-making and help us dream of Camp’s future!  All who uphold the purpose of the Camp Mennoscah Association are welcome.

3.  Spend a day at Camp Mennoscah!  We’re having a Day of Volunteering on September 13th and inviting everyone of all ages and skills.  The fun will begin at 8:30am and tasks will be varied.  We will provide a sandwich lunch and a hotdog cookout for supper (no charge).  (Be sure to tell us of any dietary needs.)  Coming to Work & Play Camp or traveling far?  Let us know if you would like to stay overnight.  Contact us at 620-297-3290 to let us know that you’ll be coming.

4.  Work & Play Camp, Sept. 14-17–We’re putting Camp Mennoscah back to rights after a summer of fun camps and hard use!  This is a service-oriented retreat for people of all ages and skills.  Along with the tasks we hope to complete, we’ll have evening devotions, games, coffee breaks, and gobs of fellowship.  No charge for this retreat, only a suggested donation of $4.00 per person/meal.  Contact us at campmno@mennowdc.org or 620-297-3290 for more information.

5.  Fall Scrapbooking Retreats!  Camp Mennoscah has two Scrapbooking Retreats this fall on Oct. 31-Nov. 2 and Nov. 14-16.  Scrapbookers of all skill levels are invited to come for a weekend of fellowship, crafty sessions, and all the cropping you can fit in.  Find the registration form at www.campmennoscah.org under Retreats or contact us at 620-297-3290.  We’ll see you in November!

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

1.  Heritage Sunday, a Sunday set aside to honor and celebrate Mennonite Church USA’s history and roots, is October 26.  This year, Mennonite Church USA invites congregations to remember the gifts that young adults have offered to our church.  You can download the free resources, including dramatic readings, sermon prompts, scripture ideas and more online:  http://bit.ly/HeritageSunday.

2.  With events in Israel and Palestine, primarily Gaza, very much in the news in recent weeks, we are fortunate to have the first-hand observations and insights of persons who have spent substantial time in that region.  Daryl Byler, former MCC representative in Palestine and Israel, Iran, Iraq and Jordan, will be speaking at several events from September 5 to 7.  These will take place at Hesston College, Journey Mennonite Church-South Hutchinson, Hesston Mennonite Church, Whitestone Mennonite Church, and First Mennonite Church-Newton. See attachment for times, locations and topics.

Western District Conference

2517 North Main, PO Box 306

North Newton KS  67117

316-283-6300; FAX:  316-283-0620

Email:  wdc@mennowdc.org

Website:  www.mennowdc.org